Tiger right-handed Michael Pineda had to leave today’s game in the second inning after being hit by a one in his throwing hand Ramón Urias line drive. After the game, manager AJ Hinch told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jason Beck) that Pineda had suffered a broken right middle finger. A trip to the injured list is inevitable and Hinch said Pineda will be visiting specialists to determine the next course of action for recovery.
It’s a difficult result for Pineda and the Tigers, who are already missing several members of their ideal starting rotation. Matt Manning (Shoulder discomfort) can be deployed within a week or two of returning, but Casey Mize (sprained elbow) didn’t last long when he first started rehab, and his rehab effort did now paused. Tyler Alexander also made a few spot starts earlier this season before a left elbow sprain sent the southpaw on the shelf.
Pineda missed some time of his own earlier in the year as visa issues delayed his arrival for spring training and therefore his preparation for the season. Despite five starts and 22 1/3 innings, Pineda has a 3.22 ERA but with only a 13.63% strikeout rate. While that K% is a particularly low figure, Pineda’s history has delivered some solid numbers (3.77 ERA over 303 innings) over the past four seasons despite generally unimpressive periphery. Pineda signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract that includes up to $2.5 million in bonus money based on innings totals, but he’ll struggle to hit any of those innings thresholds if he’s busy Missed time in the IL.
The Tigers signed Pineda to give their young associates some veteran experience, and just five weeks into the season that pitching depth was already being tested. Scuba train was excellent and Eduardo Rodriguez has started to turn things around after a rocky start, but Detroit has turned around Beau Brieske, Alex Faedoand Joey Wentz all making their first starts in the major leagues.
Faedo was already expected to be recalled by Triple-A to start Monday’s game and Brieske is likely to remain in the rotation having enjoyed some decent results so far. Wentz could also catch another eye or two until the Tigers feel Manning is ready to be activated off the injured list.